Charles Booker, Kentucky’s youngest black state lawmaker, is making a big push to beat retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath in the state’s Democratic Senate primary race.
According to the Huffington Post, Booker has been active at protests in Louisville in support of Breonna Taylor. His campaign also debuted his first TV advertisement on television in the Kentucky area.
Booker, a progressive, supports the Green New Deal, “Medicare for All,” and universal basic income. Booker has been struggling to pull in cash for months. However, the Black Lives Matter protests and focus on African American issues in the U.S. has gained Booker much-needed attention.
“A couple weeks ago [Booker] couldn’t afford an ad buy. A couple weeks ago he couldn’t afford a poll,” Matt Erwin, a Kentucky Democratic strategist told the Huffington Post. “But the last couple weeks have changed everything.”
Until recently, Booker has been fighting an uphill battle against McGrath, who Democratic leaders have endorsed to take on Mitch McConnell. McGrath’s profile as a veteran and former pilot has helped her raised more money than McConnell this year.
However, McGrath has pushed herself as more of a central candidate to the chagrin of some voters and has even been labeled as pro-Trump. Additionally, McGrath told a Kentucky newspaper in July 2019 that she would have supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh before changing her decision a day later.
Booker has jumped on those missteps, saying McGrath cannot be trusted. Booker has also received some major endorsements in the last few weeks. Three members of the state Democratic Party’s legislative leadership as well as popular Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones have endorsed Booker.
It’s unclear whether Booker’s momentum will extend to the ballot box. There are currently 10 candidates fighting for the Democratic nomination and there’s been no public polling for the Democratic primary. National and state political observers all see an impossible contest to predict, saying the coronavirus pandemic has only made it harder.
“He’s got to raise his name ID to win,” Jessica Taylor, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told The Huffington Post. “The primary could be engaging late because other things have been on voters’ minds with COVID and what happened in Louisville.”